The Building Code of Australia (BCA) in conjunction with the Queensland Development Code (QDC) introduced that all new homes or existing residences completing a major extension must have a minimum of a 6 star energy efficient housing rating.
How to achieve a 6 star 6 star energy efficient housing rating
Through utilising passive solar design and other sustainable building practices, you can build or create a home that offers comfort all year round, cuts your energy bill and reduces your environmental footprint.
Have you considered your house orientation and how the sun affects your living areas?
Consider the home’s ventilation through maximising the breeze paths.
How do the eaves and awnings affect the temperature in your home?
How can the building shape and the zoning of your home affect efficiency?
Have you considered treated glazing?
What colour are you painting your roof and walls? Light is best.
Insulation – it is crucial and will save you money.
Thermal mass – how your building materials affect your home efficiency?
Facts: An energy efficient home
- Can be up to 5 degrees warmer in winter
- Can be up to 10 degrees cooler in summer
- Will enjoy more natural light
- Will save you $$$ each year on your energy bills
- Creates a cleaner and healthier environment by producing 70% or 5 tonnes less greenhouse gas emission per year than the average family home
The orientation of your home is critical to ensure energy efficiency. To maximise the sun in winter but minimise the effects of the sun in summer it is essential that your living areas are located on the north side of your home.
When designing your living spaces ensure that careful consideration is given to window sizing, placement and protection. By ensuring that you have the right position and size of the windows to allow maximum comfort to you and your family you will reduce your energy usage.
Consider building a pergola, patio or deck to adjoin your living areas; this will provide correct shading to the northern side of your home during the summer months.
Ventilation – Breeze Paths
To minimise the use of air conditioning and fans, the correct ventilation paths need to be created in your home.
- Aligning windows and doors opposite each other you will allow the breeze to move freely throughout your home.
- Consider the vegetation that adjoins your home. Trees offer shade in the summer months and can assist greatly in directing the breeze.
- Ensure however that this vegetation is positioned correctly so the trees still allow the winter sun to warm your home.
- Plant evergreen trees on the east and west side of your home as they will provide shading to the windows throughout the year
Building Shape and Zoning
- Locate your swimming pool on the north side of your home. The body of water acts as a thermal store allowing heat to dissipate when the wind blows; in turn creating a cool breeze to blow through your home.
- Create zones in your home by grouping rooms together that have similar usages. Close off unheated rooms from heated rooms when they are not being used.
The correct insulation of your home will save you money. Important points to consider:
- Insulation must be planned correctly when designing your home to ensure maximum efficiency
- Insulation should be installed in the floor, walls and ceiling of your home
- To maximise the insulation ensure that dense heavy-duty curtains are used throughout your home as this will hold the warmth in winter and block out the summer heat.
Maximising the thermal mass ability (ability to store heat) of your home will keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. –You can achieve this simply by using the appropriate building materials in your floors and walls.
- Concrete has thermal mass – ensure your slab is poured correctly
- Replace carpet, consider tiling your floor
What is the cost to you – the home owner?
Depending on the size, location and design of your home, the estimated additional cost is as little as 1.25% on average. Remember that any initial outlay will be offset by your energy savings – long term gain.
Resources and additional information:
For more information on energy efficient homes speak to Green Earth Homes today